For my paper I interview Brandie Stine. She has lived through many changes in her own family and had some great insight on how our family has changed so much over the past years. When she remarried in 1998, she went from a mother of five, to a mother of eight. She became part of a very big blended family.
The adjustment of joining five teenagers (three of us had already moved out), was very hard for her and her husband. Trying to teach teenagers to get together is worse than having a group of 2 year old, telling them you have to share. They were able to make it through the rough times and now over the past 12 years, she and her husband have become the proud grandparents of 18 grandchildren. Her grandchildren are her new pride and joy, but she has also become a statistic, of a grandparent raising a grandchild. She says “it is hard and sad, when one of your own children is not willing or wanting to raise their own child.”
She has raised Raven for the past five years, becoming her surrogate mother. She never thought that after raising her own children, she would be in these shoes again raising a small child. While a grandparent raising their grandchildren is not something new, the fact that older grandparents are raising younger grandchildren is on the rise. In the most recent Census Bureau statistics, 2.4 million of the nation’s families are maintained by grandparents who have one or more of their grandchildren living with them—an increase of 400,000 (19 percent) since 1990.
These families comprise 7 percent of all families with children under 18. (U.S. Census Bureau, the Official Statistics, 1997) Some grandparents who have retried have to go back to work, just to be able to afford to take care of their grandchildren. The poverty rate is growing with this problem. Brandie said, “That when she was growing up you had grandparents in some homes but when you did this was to help take care of them and they would help the parents to raise their children.
Children had respect for their grandparents and knew if they got in trouble with grandma, her punishment could be worse than moms, and then you also had to deal with dad when he got home.” If you did not live in the same home as your grandparents, then they weren’t but a short drive away and you spent most of your weekends with them. My mother has seen too many children being pushed to the side, and left to be taken care of by someone else. This is sad that we have allowed our young adults to just throw their children away and not think twice. When did it become okay for a mother or father to not care about the well being of there children and allow someone else to raise them?